Monday, June 24, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: Samir LanGus at Race Brook Lodge; ‘A Spell for Living’ at The Foundry; ‘La Cage aux Folles’ at Barrington Stage; Pride at The Triplex; Seeing Rainbows at The Foundry; Angela ‘Angie’ Babbs at Becket Arts Center; ‘The Arty Party’ textile and art sale; Great Barrington Summer Concerts; South Williamstown Community Association hard cider and cheese tasting

Often called "The Moroccan Blues,” Gnawa music has a raw, hypnotic power that fascinated many outsiders including Jimi Hendrix.

Race Brook Lodge presents Samir LanGus

Sheffield— On Thursday, June 13th from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., as part of its Eid al-Adha Celebration, Race Brook Lodge presents Samir LanGus.

Samir LanGus. Courtesy Race Brook Lodge.

Samir LanGus is a Grammy nominated musician, born and raised in the city of Agadir, Morocco. Music has always been a part of the constant variety of street sounds of his city, from merchants to entertainers and calls to prayer. LanGus began learning Gnawa when he was eight years old from the Gnawa masters of Morocco.

Gnawa music is the traditional, spiritual, ritual trance music of Morocco’s black communities, originally descended from slaves and soldiers once brought to Morocco from Northern Mali and Mauritania. Often called “The Moroccan Blues,” Gnawa music has a raw, hypnotic power that fascinated outsiders including Jimi Hendrix.

LanGus makes great use of this traditional repertoire and adds his own, contemporary spin with additional jazz instrumentation. “Gnawa is not just the music,” he says. “It’s the culture. You can’t play just the sintir, you also need the karqaba to have the Gnawa spirit.” He describes the sintir, a stringed percussion instrument made of wood and camel skin with goat gut strings, as a “powerful instrument” with an amazing sound. “You feel it in your heart.”

The performance is on Thursday, June 13th from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Barnspace at Race Brook Lodge at 864 South Undermountain Road in Sheffield. The doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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The Foundry presents ‘A Spell for Living’

West Stockbridge— On June 14th and 15th at 7:30 p.m., The Foundry presents “A Spell for Living.”

“A Spell for Living” is a community invitation to connect and dwell in the magic of ephemerality and the nurturance of rest. Part interactive ritual, part performance, part invitation for fellowship, “A Spell for Living” combines live choral music, poetry, and guided prompts that invite the audience to participate and reflect. The “Spell” will conjure both the pandemic’s lessons that we vowed not to forget and a sacred space of joy and connection. The ritual will conclude with refreshments on the patio.

‘A Spell for Living.’ Courtesy The Foundry.

The “Spell” is a creation by singer/composer Renee Benson and experimental theater creator Jennifer Sargent. Renee and Jennifer’s work is an intentional deconstruction of traditional performance practice in order to access a more personal, explorative encounter with audiences around the intertwined nature of loss and joy. “A Spell for Living” is the latest “Offering” in the artists’ multi-year series of healing rituals, workshops, and sacred spaces called “The Gorgeous Offerings,” originally created for the New Orleans community.

To cultivate community and equity, honor-system tiered ticket prices from $10 to $35 are offered for this event. The lowest price ticket is available to all whom it will serve, and the hope is that those with the means to pay the higher ticket price will do so.

The “Spell” is June 14th and 15th at 7:30 p.m. at The Foundry at 2 Harris Street in West Stockbridge. The doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets and more information can be found online. Please visit The Foundry online for parking information. 

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Barrington Stage Company presents the Tony Award-winning musical ‘La Cage aux Folles’

Pittsfield— From June 11th through July 6th, Barrington Stage Company presents the Tony Award-winning musical “La Cage aux Folles,” opening its 30th anniversary season. 

“La Cage aux Folles” is based on the 1973 French play of the same name that also was turned into the 1978 French film comedy as well as the 1996 American remake, “The Birdcage,” starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Set in Saint Tropez on the French Riviera, “La Cage aux Folles” is a riotous and touching musical comedy about a gay couple, Georges and Albin, who must disguise themselves for one night in order to impress a local ultra-conservative politician who is threatening to shut down the couple’s drag nightclub where Georges serves as Emcee and Albin as the star attraction, Zaza. This spectacular show about love and acceptance is as heartwarming as it is hilarious, and it has so much to say about what it means to be a family.

Alex Michaels aka Alexis Michelle and Tom Story. Courtesy Barrington Stage Company.

The production will star Alex Michaels, aka Alexis Michelle as Albin and Tom Story as Georges. Alex Michaels/Alexis Michelle was most recently seen on “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8”, finishing in the top four. Tom Story made his Barrington Stage Company debut last summer in Cabaret. He has appeared in over 75 productions in many cities throughout the country.

“La Cage aux Folles is a delirious farce, with Harvey Fierstein’s hilarious book and Jerry Herman’s exuberantly tuneful score,” commented BSC Artistic Director. “But it needs a believable couple at its center for the show’s beating heart, and we’re extremely fortunate to have Alex Michaels, perhaps best known for their drag persona Alexis Michelle on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and the dashing Tom Story as our Albin and Georges. With a brilliant cast and helmed by Mike Donohue with high-flying choreography from Paul McGill, we think BSC audiences are in for a treat.”

The performances are from June 11th through July 6th on Barrington Stage Company’s Boyd-Quinson Stage at 30 Union Street in Pittsfield. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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The Triplex Cinema announces special lineup for Pride month

Great Barrington— Throughout June, The Triplex Cinema announces a special lineup to celebrate  Pride month with screenings, talkbacks, and more. 

‘Before Stonewall’ movie poster.

On June 11th at 7:15 p.m., there will be a screening of “Before Stonewall,” followed by a talkback with the director of the film Greta Schiller and the Triplex’s President of the Board of Directors Nicki Wilson. Released in 1984, the award-winning “Before Stonewall” is a documentary film about the LGBTQ+ community prior to the 1969 Stonewall riots.

On June 12th at 7:15 p.m., there will be a screening of “After Stonewall,” followed by an intergenerational panel and an audience discussion. Released in 1999, the award-winning “After Stonewall” is a documentary film about the 30 years of gay rights activism since the 1969 Stonewall riots.

On June 13th at 7:15 p.m., there will be a screening of “Rock the Boat,” followed by talkback with Academy Award winning film director and producer Bobby Houston and the Triplex’s Ben Elliott. “Rock the Boat” is an epic adventure documentary film set on the high seas, where a crew of HIV positive sailors enter the Trans-Pacific Race from California to Hawaii.

On June 15th at 9 p.m., there will be a screening of “Bottoms.” Released in 2023 with much critical acclaim, the hilarious comedy “Bottoms” follows two high school senior girls who set up a fight club as a way to hook up with cheerleaders.

The series continues throughout the month at The Triplex Cinema at 70 Railroad Street in Great Barrington. For tickets and more information, including the full schedule of events, visit The Triplex online. 

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Seeing Rainbows presents ‘Salon,” a co-creation workshop experience at The Foundry

West Stockbridge— On Wednesday, June 12th at 11 a.m., Seeing Rainbows, a new, trans-led Berkshire arts organization, presents ‘Salon,” a co-creation workshop experience at The Foundry.

Seeing Rainbows.

Salon is emergence in action. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t participated before —  think one part workshop, one part community hangout, one part transcendent spiritual experience, and one part performance — maybe. Salon is different every time because salon is emergence in action. Come prepared to create and share, but most of all, to listen.

Bring your transportable creative work in progress–writing, journaling, scrapbooking, knitting, crocheting, songwriting, monologuing, dance, drawing. You may have an opportunity to work on it and/or share, but you also might not. Folx of all identities, backgrounds, skill levels, and experience are encouraged to participate.

‘Salon.’ Courtesy The Foundry.

To cultivate community and equity, honor-system tiered ticket prices from free to $30 are offered for this event. The lowest price ticket is available to all whom it will serve, and the hope is that those with the means to pay the higher ticket price will do so.

The salon is on Wednesday, June 12th at 11 a.m. at The Foundry at 2 Harris Street in West Stockbridge. Tickets and more information can be found online. Please visit The Foundry online for parking information.

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Becket Arts Center presents ‘The Art of Weaving’ with Angela ‘Angie’ Babbs

Becket— On Thursday, June 13th at 5 p.m., Becket Arts Center is pleased to present ‘The Art of Weaving’ with Angela “Angie” Babbs.

Babbs, who is legally blind and hearing impaired, uses her sense of touch to experience the environment around her. She will explain how weaving can not only create beautiful works of art, but also provide psychological and therapeutic benefits. 

Angela ‘Angie’ Babbs. Courtesy Becket Arts Center.

The event is on Thursday, June 13th at 5 p.m. at Becket Arts Center on Brooker Hill Road in Becket. It is free and open to the public. More information can be found online. 

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‘The Arty Party,’ a textile and art sale to benefit nonprofits

Salisbury, Conn.— On June 14th, 15th, and 16th, you’re invited to “The Arty Party,” a textile and art sale to benefit nonprofits.

“The Arty Party” is a show and sale glorious textiles from around the world, as well as art works from local artists, to benefit local non-profit organizations. 

‘The Arty Party’ textile and art sale.

All sales of textiles [table cloths, napkins, fabrics from Indonesia, Sweden, Mexico, India, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana] and some of the art will benefit the Little Guild Animal Rescue New Building Fund. Local artists will showcase their work and a percentage of art sales will benefit East Mountain Foundation House, a non-profit for end-of-life contemplative care and support.

The sale is on June 14th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on June 15th and 16th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the White Hart Inn at 15 Under Mountain Road in Salisbury, Conn. 

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Town of Great Barrington Summer Concert Series

Great Barrington— On Friday, June 14th, the Town of Great Barrington Summer Concert Series opens with the Railroad Street Dreamers. Next up on Wednesday, June 19th is the Sunday Strummers Uke Band.

Railroad Street Dreamers.

The free concerts are held weekly on various days of the week from 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at “Grover’s Corner Gazebo” at the Great Barrington Town Hall at 334 Main Street. Visit the Town of Great Barrington Summer Concert Series online for weather updates, more information, and a full schedule of events.  

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South Williamstown Community Association hosts a free local hard cider and cheese tasting at The Store at Five Corners

Williamstown— On Thursday, June 13th from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., South Williamstown Community Association hosts a free local hard cider and cheese tasting at The Store at Five Corners.

Enjoy hard cider from Berkshire Cider Project, based in North Adams and owned by South Williamstown residents Kat Hand and Matt Brogan, paired with cheese from local favorite Cricket Creek. The casual tasting will be offered before and after a 6 p.m. talk by both makers about their businesses.

Berkshire Cider Project and Cricket Creek Farm.

“We see our ciders as a love letter to the Berkshires — made of (and for) the local landscape.” said Katherine “Kat” Hand, co-founder and co-owner of Berkshire Cider Project. “We are proud to be neighbors in the South Williamstown community alongside Cricket Creek Farm. Cricket Creek has been an incredible local partner, and we’re thrilled to pair our ciders with their exceptional cheeses made with such care and craftsmanship right here in our corner of the Berkshires.”

The tasting is on Thursday, June 13th from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Store at Five Corners at 4 New Ashford Road in Williamstown. Hard cider and cheese will be available for purchase, and live music will follow the tasting.

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